I’m Not Going To Sit By The Pool And Eat Bon-bons


If you find you have an aversion to jumping out of airplanes, it is probably best not to add skydiving to your bucket list. Profound statement, don’t you think? It was preceded by the thought: “What was I thinking when I gave up my day job?” My next thought was: “Is it too late to get it back?”


You know of course, I couldn’t make stuff like this up. I spent most of Friday working on my laptop from the sunroom. I’m finding the sun porch a perfect venue to get a sense of being outside while being inside in air-conditioned comfort. It is a very relaxing workspace and ideal work environment.


About 4:30 p.m., I moved my computer from the table I had been working on to charge the battery. I then went from the sun porch to my interior office. I had just sat down at my desk when the General walked it carrying a piece of paper. She tossed it on my desk while stating: “You left this piece of paper out there”. She then stated more emphatically: “I can’t have you just making messes around here.”


It actually was kind of comical. She wasn’t angry, she just wasn’t going to pass up a teaching moment. I felt like a three-year-old in Vacation Bible School. The nice lady was going to make sure I colored inside the lines.


The next round of redirection came when the General discovered I failed to move the bathroom rug from the floor to the edge of the bathtub after my shower. Another infraction of the rules! Who would have thought? Sometimes I can’t win for losing. I remember a time that we purchased expensive bathroom rugs to actually leave on the bathroom floor. Not any more, we are now duplicating a four star hotel with the bath mat carefully in reach, but not out flat.


God as my witness, I’m not making this up. It wasn’t ten minutes later that the General then asked: “So how is working from home working out for you?” I cheerfully responded: “It’s great! I don’t have to deal with traffic.”


So later, I left the house in my truck. The General and her mother were sitting on the sun porch. I had tossed a plastic garbage bag full of excess branches I’d pruned from the crepe myrtles in the yard into the back of my truck and driven it down to place them next to the canister for trash pick-up. When I returned she asked: “What have you been doing?” I answered truthfully, “I’ve been texting”. “You drove the truck to do that”, she asked. “No, that’s what I’ve been doing since I got back in the truck”. I then explained about the crepe myrtle branches. She immediately clutched at her chest and said: “Ethyl, it’s the big one! Not even a pacemaker can help with this.” “Very funny”, I said.


Actually, she is very funny. There is also a pleasant and playful inconsistency on her part. When I tossed my plastic empty water bottle in the trashcan located in our garage, I absentmindedly forgot the green bottle cap that went with it.  Like a hummingbird looking for nectar, she tracked me down. “Was that the green bottle cap from your bottle of water that you left on the table?” Before I had a chance or even the thought to answer: “No Ma’am, I’m sorry. I promise never to do it again”, she smiled and said, “If you’ll give me a hug I’ll throw it away for you”. Before the day was done and three hugs later I was out of trouble and beginning to think the retirement deal might work. That’s not to say there aren’t still looming questions. I’m still wondering: “What was I thinking when I gave up my day job and is it too late to get it back?”


Okay, so leading up to retirement my primary focus has been: “Do we have enough money in savings and does our monthly annuity and social security more than provide for our financial needs going forward? Thankfully, that isn’t an issue. Of course, my oldest grandson will be happy to know that. He is as frugal as my dad ever thought about being. Who know, maybe it’s in the name. They both share the same one.


I recently made some off-hand statement in front of my grandson about the General purchasing a new purse. I’ve mentioned in my blog that out of the generosity of my daughter and son-in-law, I’m a member of the Sock of the Month Club. Unknowingly, I think the General must have signed up for the Stash of a Month Club. Stash is the “Now” desirable brand if you collect purses and I promise you the General has quite a stash. She has a new purse every time I turn around. At any rate, I made some off-hand comment and William responded: “So granddad, are you concerned Gram is spending too much money on Stash?” The kid is really smart! He got it. Actually, I thought he had until he offered his take on the issue and finished his thought process. He said, “If you think Gram is spending too much money on Stash, maybe you need to stop buying a new car every 40,000 miles”.


I have a friend who truthfully confessed to me that following his retirement he really had a difficult time emotionally. He said, “I was like a fish out of water”. He went on to explain that he had only looked at financial affordability and had not stopped to consider the emotional impact. With the loss of his job, there was nothing immediately available to replace his career identity.


According to Robert Delamontagne,PhD, author of The Retiring Mind: How to Make the Psychological Transition to Retirement: “Too few people consider the psychological adjustments that accompany this life stage, which can include coping with the loss of your career identity, replacing support networks you had through work, spending more time than ever before with your spouse and finding new and engaging ways to stay active. Some retirees ease smoothly into retirement, spending more time with hobbies or family and friends. But others, research finds, experience anxiety, depression and debilitating feelings of loss.”

He went on to say: “People can go through hell when they retire and they will never say a word about it, often because they are embarrassed”.


Trust me, I am not that guy! If retirement doesn’t work for me, I will do something else. I promise you I am not going to be content watching reruns of Gunsmoke and the Andy Griffith Show on television. I don’t plan to wear my pajamas all day or sit by the pool and eat bonbons. For one thing, we don’t have a pool and secondly, the General doesn’t want me eating a lot of candy.
All My Best!




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